Authors: Nicodemus Zamoran and DreadnoughtDT
Mortal ~ Chapter Three
DT sighed as they reached Nic's house. The large two-story house loomed in front of them, but they didn't go inside. They went around to his backyard, which was a large field, but not that large. In it was a couple trees, the largest of which housed a small tree house. DT sighed, breaking the long silence. "Man, that was..." He paused, searching for the right words. "Hectic, I guess."
Nic glanced at DT as he climbed the ladder to the tree house. “Yeah. Fun though.” He said as he entered. The tree house was about the size of a small bedroom. It had two windows, one covered with a clear pane of glass, the other housed an air conditioner hooked up to a portable generator for hot days. Pictures lined the walls, and two chairs sat in the middle of the room. Nic sat down in the blood red one, the smooth fabric soft yet strong.
DT sat in the dusky blue chair, which Nic had said he got because DT complained about sitting on the floor. Something he couldn't ever recall doing. He sighed. "Fun? I guess. Fighting demons isn't my definition of fun."
“It was a lot better than just sitting around.” Nic said as he leaned back. “So, tell me more about your family.”
DT looked at the ceiling, thinking for a moment. "Alright, so, you know my dad's a surgeon and my mom's a psychiatrist. But what you don't know is that my dad is also a demon."
“What about your mother?” Nic asked.
DT shook his head. "She's human, 100%." He said assuredly.
“So what about that necklace of yours? You said your grandfather gave it to you, right?” Nic asked gesturing at the now normal cross necklace that DT was wearing around his neck.
DT lifted the necklace to look at it. "That's correct. My father's father gave it to me. He's a demon too." He thought for a moment. "The day he gave it to me, he told me never to take it off. He said it was a priceless artifact, and that it holds hidden power. I found out a bit late, though."
“One more question. How was it that you kept your secret so well?” Nic said as he looked at DT, an inquiring look in his deep blue eyes.
DT smiled. "I never changed. Simple as that. I did it a few times in front of some friends I thought I could trust, but... That didn't work out. But I thought you were different, and I guess being brave paid off."
“It was probably those dreams that made me different. I basically see it all in them.” Nic said with a slight smile.
DT laughed a bit. "I doubt you saw a demon like me, though. Well, half-demon."
“No, never.” Nic said as he shook his head. “I’ve seen so many demons, though. All killed by that same strange man.”
DT pulled out his notepad, filled with sketches and notes on Nic's demons. "More demons than you'd think, too. Look at how many there are." He threw the pad to Nic, who caught it deftly. DT smiled. "There are more than two hundred different kinds, and that's not counting variant forms of demons."
Nic flipped through the images, each one different. “It still amazes me that you can draw the demons exactly as they look in the dreams.” He said, continuing to flip through the thick notebook.
DT cracked his knuckles. "It still amazes me that you can tell me such accurate description of them."
Nic nodded his head once and snapped the notebook closed. “Want to see if we can get information on the names?” He asked.
DT nodded. "They're probably better names than the stuff I named them." He said jokingly.
Nic smiled. “Probably, but I was talking about Zeron and the Hellslayer Knight. It may give us a clue as to who the man in my dreams is and why we were attacked by demons.”
DT raised an eyebrow. "You think so?"
Nic stood up and gestured to DT. “Come on. With those names, it shouldn’t be hard to find.” He said, then he exited the tree house, waiting for DT.
DT jumped down, not using the ladder. "Where are we going? Your house, the library?"
“The library is our best bet. Who knows what kind of crap is on the internet associated with those names.” Nic said as he started to walk.
DT nodded and followed. "You got a point. Sometimes, I think the internet is more junk than info though."
“Exactly.” Nic said. After about 30 minutes of walking, the two reached the library. It was old, bricks a light grey, the stones worn. It towered over the surrounding area with tall, Victorian style towers. Inside, it was cool, the air dry and dusty. Rows of books lined the walls and various shelves. Possibly half a million books resided there, most of them old. This library was the only one in the area that didn’t hold fictional books, so barely anyone came here. Surprisingly it was never closed. Some anonymous donor would constantly pay the bills for the place to keep it open.
DT smiled. "I don't go here often, but man, this place is awesome. Good thing they keep it open."
“Yeah.” Nic said as they entered. “We might get more done if we split up. We may find something faster that way.”
DT nodded and looked down an aisle of books. "I'll go in here. You go somewhere else. Kay?"
They separated, searching through the multitude of books. After a few hours of searching, Nic found a book referencing an old scroll. It was written in a strange language that no one was able to decipher. Hundreds of years old, the page was yellowed and the ink was only slightly faded. What caught Nic’s interest was the runes upon the page. It matched the runes on his necklace exactly. Apparently, the scroll was found during World War II and cast aside as garbage by most scientists, but when one examined the paper’s properties, he realized that it was an important discovery. Nic took the book and started to search for DT in the vast library.
DT sighed, walking through the aisle of books. A heavy looking book with faded gold trim caught his eye. He pulled it out from the rack and flipped through the pages, one particular picture making his breath catch. It was a stone that was covered in runes similar to his necklace, and was labeled the "Stone of Tharo".
“Looks like you found something as well.” Nic said from behind DT.
DT jumped, throwing the book and making it land on the ground with a loud thud, still open to the page he had been looking at. "Next time you're gonna sneak up on me..." He turned around to face Nic. "...Don't talk so loud."
“You probably would’ve had the same reaction.” Nic said smiling.
DT rolled his eyes and pointed at the book. "Just read it..."
Nic handed DT the book he was holding and picked up the one DT dropped, reading what it said. He pulled out his coin and compared the runes on the stone, revealing that they matched. “This is too strange.” He said as he turned the page. What he saw made him nearly drop the book.
DT grasped the book that Nic was now shakily holding. "What's got you so freaked out?"
Nic pointed to a picture on the next page. “Take a look.” The picture was of the necklace that Nic was currently wearing.
DT read what was on the page, his eyes widening. It was an excerpt of some notes that a researcher wrote. DT began to read it aloud. "”I find it fascinating that both this necklace and this stone, which I've named the Stone of Tharo after myself, have the same runes. I have tried to figure out their origin, but they're unlike any ancient language I've seen. I've compared it to Aztec, Mayan, and Egyptian languages, and there are no similarities. Furthermore, neither the stone nor the necklace seem to be able to corrode or break. I tried to take a sample from the stone, and I ended up breaking my sampling tools.”" DT took a deep breath. "This is some heavy stuff..." He said quietly.
Nic continued to read where DT had left off. “”Strangely enough, the design engraved into the necklace’s chain can’t have been done in any way. It is impossible small and intricate, and the metal shows no signs of metalworking. The material is as hard as the Rock of Tharo, so I could not retrieve a sample from it either. Another strange thing is the colors. I believe the alternating white and black resemble something like Yin and Yang, as well as the two intertwined dragons, also alternated white and black, yet it doesn’t seem to have a link to Asian culture other than that. I would have studied it further, but it was stolen. Some of the locals say that it was demons, but I personally think that it was some thief looking to sell it to the black market.’” Nic then turned the page, revealing another shocking surprise. There, on the next page, was the very necklace that DT wore. “Looks like we are connected more than we thought, eh, DT?”
DT's mouth dropped open. "There are notes on this one as well, by the same researcher." He cleared his throat and began to read aloud. "’While I did not manage to find my stolen necklace, I found a new, larger necklace to replace it. It is covered by the same runes, suggesting it was made by the same culture. I have tentatively named the necklace the "Shattered Moon" because of the rune that seems to be repeated often on it, which looks like a shattered quarter moon. While I DID manage to retrieve a small sample from this necklace, the results were astoundingly inconclusive. It's an otherworldly material that no one has found yet. The necklace gives off a soft hum, indicating perhaps some machinery inside, but I have no clue how to operate it. Chances are this necklace will be stolen as well, so I'm doing as much research as I can in as little time as possible.’"
“It seems we found out something we weren’t even looking for.” Nic said. He then opened the book that he had found, revealing the information about the scroll. “All that we seem to be able to find is about the necklaces.”
DT sighed. "Yeah... But maybe these necklaces are connected to Zeron or whoever. The Dr. Tharo guy who wrote this stuff said it was from an unknown culture."
“Maybe…” Nic said.
DT took the book from Nic's hands and closed it. "Let's check out this book and whatever you found so we can study it a bit more. Kay?"
“Yeah.” Nic said, then walked towards the front of the library where the desk was and the librarian stood.
DT put the book on the desk. "We'd like to check this one out. I have a card." He pulled out his library card from his wallet.
The librarian smiled. He was a man of about 50, his hair grey and his skin slightly wrinkled, “It’s good to see teenagers such as yourselves taking an interest to the books of this library.” He said. He then noticed the necklaces, staring at them as they seemed familiar to him. After a few minutes he shook his head and marked due dates on cards from the back of the two books. “Happy reading.” He said.
DT nodded and smiled. "I'm sure it will be." He said cheerily as he started walking out, Nic in tow.
As the two walked outside, Nic looked up at the sky. “We’ve used up all of our morning. I would say it is time to get something to eat, wouldn’t you agree, my friend?”
DT's stomach growled as if in response. "That a good enough answer?" DT said jokingly.
“Good enough for me.” Nic said, a smile on his face.
DT felt something tickle his leg and instinctively kicked out, making a large beetle fly out from his pants leg. The beetle scurried past him and into a small burlap sack that lay in a heap on the ground. Suddenly, several other bugs ran past Nic and DT's legs, all heading for the sack. As the bugs filled the sack, it stood up on two peg-like legs and laughed, its humanoid form stitched together and wielding a huge scythe arm. Two other demons like this one appeared suddenly, laughing maniacally.
“Well, look at that. More demons.” Nic said as he smiled deviously.
DT rolled his eyes. "This is getting boring! Don't they know when to frigging quit?" He set down the books, cracked his neck, and got into a fighting stance. "C'mon, let's play."
The three burlap sack demons cackled and jumped forward, swinging their large scythe arms at the duo.
Nic quickly summoned the black sword and swung it to block one of the scythes, then jumped back to avoid the others.
DT kicked one of the demons into the others, grabbed one's arm, and ripped it off, killing it. "Two left." He muttered.
Nic smiled as the other two demons stood up and faced him. “Didn’t anyone tell you to fight fair?” He said in a joking voice. He held out his other hand and the white blade appeared, and a surge of power seemed to go through him, making him feel energized.
DT grabbed one of the demons and threw it towards Nic, then cut the other in half with the scythe blade.
Nic jumped forward, slashing with both blades in an X pattern, the blades slicing cleanly through it.
As the demons faded from existence, so too did the scythe that DT held. DT sighed and looked around, making sure none of the demons were alive. "This is total BS..." He said quietly.
“We seem to be demon magnets now.” Nic said as he picked up the two books that they had checked out.
DT rolled his eyes. "Well, I don't much like it. I preferred fighting guys who fight back..."
“Those demons that attacked us earlier fought back quite a bit.” Nic said as he started to walk.
DT shrugged. "I guess I just don't like fighting demons." He said softly.
“I think they provide a challenge that we have not encountered.” Nic stated.
DT rolled his eyes. "I guess.” He sighed. “I just don't like fighting something EVERY frigging day, y'know?"
“That, I understand.” The two walked in silence for a while until Nic spoke again. “Now that I know your secret, maybe I can actually stay over at your place tonight.”
DT's eyes widened. "Uh... No. Sorry."
“Oh, come on. It’s not like you have anything else to hide.” Nic said.
DT looked around a bit. "Well, my parents are busy, though."
Nic smiled slightly. “I won’t be a bother. I promise.”
DT thought for a second before replying. "I suppose so... But you can't use the guest bedroom. My dad uses it for surgical supplies and whatnot. Okay?"
“Sounds like a plan.” Nic said.
DT took a deep breath. "But please, for the love of god, don't go in there. Who knows what junk you might get hurt on."
“I understand. No going into the quest bedroom.” Nic said as they continued to walk.
DT smiled. "You'll like my house. I'm sure."
They walked up to DT's two-story house. They entered the neatly furbished living room through the front door. A regal carpet spread on the floor with a large HD TV and a couple nice, cushy couches.
“The den of the wolf. Nice.” Nic said as he looked around.
DT smiled. "Indeed. The kitchen is right there." He said, pointing. "My parents room is down the hall there, and to the right of that are some stairs. Those lead to another hall with my room, the guest bedroom AKA the lab, and a bathroom."
“Cozy enough. So, what shall we do first?” Nic asked.
DT thought for a moment. "We could watch TV, watch stuff on the internet, play video games, or go outside and play out there."
An idea struck Nic. “What about showing me your sword? You did say you would like to show it to me someday.”
DT smacked his palm to his forehead. "How the hell would I forget something so obvious?" He walked down the hall to the stairs. "It's in my room. C'mon."
Nic followed silently as they strode up the stairs. As they passed the “lab”, Nic had a feeling that someone was watching him. He shook the feeling as they reached DT’s room.
DT sighed. "It's not much, but make yourself at home." The bed was rather large, but not that large. There was a small TV in the corner of the room, perched on a dresser. On a small desk was DT's computer, large, bulky, and not fun to look at, but it did the job it was meant for. DT moved his dresser out of the way, revealing a long sword, forged out of obsidian and coated in steel. "It was in the house when we bought it. Dunno who it belongs to, so it's mine now."
“Nice.” Nic said. He walked forward and gently picked up the sword, weighing it in his hands. It felt balanced, the weight comfortable in his hands. “Wow… This is an amazing sword.” He said, holding it out to DT.
DT smiled and took the sword. "Yeah, it is. I dunno why I always seem to get the eclectic junk and you get all the techie stuff."
“Maybe it’s just what we are good at.” Nic said, smiling.
DT shrugged and put the sword back. "In any case, if any demons attack us, I'll at least be armed. Sometimes."
“Yeah. We’re both armed now.” Nic said, indicating the necklaces.
DT nodded. "Yeah..." He said softly. "Um... Well, what is there to do now?"
Nic smiled deviously. “Let’s hit the games.”
DT grabbed a random game case and tossed it to Nic. "Put that in the 360, kay?"
“Sure.” Nic said as he opened the case and put it in the white gaming console. It was Splinter Cell: Conviction. Nic smiled. Black-ops. Gonna be fun. He thought.
And so they gamed for a while. A good, long while. By the time they had finished, four hours had gone by and it was near midnight. DT looked at Nic. "My parents won't be here until 10:00 tomorrow."
“Alright. We got some time then.” He said, putting down the controller.
DT yawned. "Man, I'm kinda bored now. Playing games for four hours straight will do that to ya..." He climbed into bed. "I'm gonna hit the hay. Stay up as long as you like, but try to get some shuteye."
“I’ll just lay down for a while. Not much use staying up alone when I came over for you.” Nic said, placing a cover on the floor and laying down, hands behind his head.
DT quickly drifted off into sleep, snoring quietly. A few minutes later, Nic heard creaking floorboards, as though someone was walking, came from the hallway. The noise didn’t last long, but it lasted long enough for Nic. He got up quietly, moving across the room as silent as the shadows. As he cracked the door, he distinctly heard the guest bedroom door snap shut, just loud enough for him to hear. He silently crept out of the room and down the hall to the guest room, placing his ear against the wood softly. Inside, he could hear small shuffling sounds. Nic quickly, but deftly, turned the knob and opened the door.
A figure, shrouded in shadow, turned to look at him. A pair of wolf-like ears protruded from his head, but the rest of his body was completely shadowed. It gasped as it saw him, but remained frozen in place.
Nic stepped forward, his feet making no sounds as the moved over the floor. “Who are you?” He asked, his tone low, his body loose, ready for a fight.
The figure merely stood still. Frozen in anticipation of battle, or perhaps maybe fear...
“Who are you?” Nic asked, a little more demanding this time.
The figure took a deep breath. "A secret. But not anymore." It said, in a man's voice.
“A secret…?” All of a sudden, everything clicked into place. This was why DT hadn’t wanted him over, why he wanted to keep him out of the guest bedroom. He relaxed, looking at the dark figure. “So what’s your story? Why are you such a secret here?”
The figure sighed. "This is why." He leaned to the side and flicked a light switch, showing his form. A normal human-like body for the most part, but with a wolf's head, tail, fur and claws. "I was their second born son. And I didn't come out like they wanted at all. So they told me to stay here forever."
“So that explains it. What’s your name?” Nic said, his eyes a soft blue. DT had a brother… He thought to himself.
The young man sighed. "They named me Lance. Not like it matters, as I am... This." He said, gesturing with his arms to his body.
“You can’t change like your brother?” Nic asked, stepping closer.
Lance shook his head. "Nope. I've tried, too. And why do you care? You should get out before DT finds out you found me."
“I care because you are the brother of my friend, and I can see you hate living this kind of life.” Nic said, his eyes darkening. “I’ll take care of DT. Just remember, your life has just begun.”